Do you get tired easily? Crave chocolate ALL the time? Or…get nasty migraines a lot?
If you experience from one or more of these you could be included in the large percentage of the population who are suffering from a magnesium deficiency, also known as the ‘silent epidemic’.
Magnesium is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body; from blood pressure regulation and muscle contraction, to brain, heart and bone health. Lacking this essential mineral can have detrimental effects on health. Studies have found severe magnesium deficiencies can play a role in the top four killers:
- Heart Disease
Having a magnesium deficiency can often go completely unnoticed and is sometimes overlooked in medicine, but it is one of the most essential minerals needed by the body.
What is magnesium used for?
- Blood pressure regulation
- Muscle function
- Immune system function
- Reducing feelings of tiredness and fatigue
- Brain health
- The maintenance of healthy bones and teeth
- Protein synthesis
- Blood sugar level balance
Signs you’re lacking magnesium
You may have attributed your tiredness to your late night Netflix marathons* but ever thought your magnesium levels may be to blame? Magnesium plays a significant role normal energy-yielding metabolism by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the energy molecule. Essentially, it helps us release energy from the food we eat, without it, we feel tired and fatigued.
*Netflix most definitely plays a role too.
When you lack magnesium, your muscles can contract involuntarily, causing painful muscle cramps and twitches. This is because it plays an essential role in activating both nerves and muscles within the nervous system. If you experience muscle cramps frequently, we recommend supplementing your diet with magnesium and limiting diuretics such as coffee and tea as these can often deplete mineral stores.
High blood pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, you’re not alone. Hypertension is currently the biggest cause of premature death in the UK, with 1 in 4 adults suffering from the condition. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition (2011) found magnesium to be an effective treatment for lowering blood pressure, following 3-month supplementation in participants. Not only can magnesium treat hypertension, but one of the most influential heart studies of all time, the Framingham Heart Study (2014) found that taking magnesium can also help lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Low magnesium levels have been found to promote ‘cortical spreading depression’ – a pretty scary sounding term to describe the process in which migraines are caused. Research by Mauskop and JVarughese (2011) found that over 50% of migraine suffers also suffer from a magnesium deficiency too. So next time you feel a headache or migraine coming on, stay away from the paracetamol and reach for the magnesium!
Do you ever feel anxious, worried or overstressed about things out of your control? Magnesium, also known as ‘natures chill pill’ can help, thanks to its relationship with the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Magnesium binds to GABA, causing anxiety-related brain activity to be counteracted. Supplementing with magnesium has also been found to link with improved ADHD symptoms.
Low magnesium levels can prevent the brain from relaxing at night, this is due to the key role it plays in your central nervous system. Taking a magnesium supplement will help relax the brain and allow you to doze off easier.
Why are so many of us deficient?
It’s actually getting hard to consume magnesium, mainly because the content of the soil we grow crops in is getting lower and lower. The other factors which exacerbate the problem include:
- Drinking fizzy drinks
- Excess sugar intake
- Drinking too much caffeine
- Prolonged Stress
Since stress is an inevitable part of everyday life, and…well coffee and tea are too, we recommend supplementing your diet daily.
How much magnesium should I be taking?